It's my property! Why, I paid $985 for this here piece of flesh, and I have the right to do what I want with it.
Pounded under the slave block's gavel,
bid-$1-2-430 bid-$2-4-580 bid-$3-4-850 bid-$5-6-1,000
heart beats, heart beats, heart beats, heart beats
Four million hearts beating
the rhythm of planting, picking—
Turned into MONEY,
Poured into crops,
Fusing with the dirt
Raining from the sky—
Southern trees bore a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Across the street,
in the White Churches,
BREAD turned to CHRIST'S FLESH,
So if'in I want to rape it, hate it, mutilate it, that ain't none of your business. I can even kill it if I want to 'cause it's mine, and you can't stop me. Though me killin' it would mean I was downright crazy given what I just paid for it. But when it gets old and useless, and I've gotten my money's worth, I just might hunt it for fun. Now you just get on out of my way before I start to showin' my hate for you, you anti-Christian piece of Northern trash! It's in the Bible; they're heathens, savages, inferior, don't believe in Jesus, and even when converted, they still the sons of Ham. My preacher taught me the word of God. He should know. God's never wrong, and We Southerners have God on our sidde [ssssss-slap]
God on our siiiiid- [sssss-slap]
God on our siiii- [ssss-slap]
"Oh, yes ye converted heathen, God has a message for thee; be meek and mild my child in the face of thy travails. Submit and repent; think only of Heaven, not this world, and the next will be yours."
So said the Southern Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and cohorts.
(and the country whispers but that was so long ago; that was not us; I'm not to blame…. but look and listen and understand it is here now; it is racism; it is killing you, me, the haters and the hated—and yes, even most the ones that stand by, doing nothing)
The vomiting has begun
The bile is rising
The venom in the veins
Lub dub, Lub dub, Lub dub:
The throb of life calling for
MURder, MURder, MURder, MURder
chanting in a viperous tongue
the Reptilian brain,
H A T E
K I L L.
When did slavery end?
When did it end?
State of mind?
But only the sightless believe
It ended in 1864.
Jim Crow's reign, segregation, culture of terror, KKK, politicians, Good-White-Men-with-Family-
Rising in the pride of the South, strong in their conviction, pleased with their Tradition, Southern Governors and Senators spoke out for what their cold, lizard hearts and squalid eyes and fetid brains claimed as Truth. the "Negro" is inferior. With God (& their 'way of life') on their side, they made sure no African American sat on a jury; lynchings took place with impunity as community picnic entertainment, photographed with pride—placed in the family album next to the wedding reception.
(and the country whispers….but that was so long ago… that was not us; I'm not to blame…. but mark and listen and understand it is here now; it is racism; it is killing you, me, the haters and the hated—the Lovers and the Loved—and yes, even most, the ones that stand by, doing nothing)
Woodrow Wilson, a racist Enforcer, segregated the federal government: 1902-1910. One man—the country followed.
1955, a 14-year-old Chicago boy visiting in Mississippi crossed an invisible "white's only" boundary he didn't even know existed. His punishment: eyes gouged out, beaten to death, then, finally, shot in the head, thrown into the Tallahatchie River, a 75-pound fan tied around his neck with barbed wire weighing his small body down. Only 54 years ago (and the country pretends… it was so long ago…but oh how wrong we are. It happened during my lifetime. And it was not the end.). Two men arrested, not held or punished; the haters enforced their reign of terror, and J. Edgar Hoover's FBI promulgated hate, intimidating civil rights workers, giving aid to lynchers, discrediting Martin Luther King, Jr., serving him up to the murdering mob.
1968, only 41 years ago, racism killed Martin Luther King, Jr.
1981, two KKK members in Alabama randomly chose to lynch 19-year-old Michael Donald. For the very first time, the killers were found guilty, but the prosecutor has been number 1 on the Aryan Nation hit list ever since. 1981, Only 28 years ago, during the lives of my children.
I beheld my caring, open-hearted lover
Every month, every week, every day, every hour
We strolled through a store
Sat together for coffee—or more.
Eyes glided blankly past her to see only me,
Ask me what I wanted
Fuss over me
While she stood next to me:
Except in the Glares of the Police.
The Stares of the Guards
The Malevolence of the Whites
As we passed by.
I learned to read
The nerve-quickened pulsing
at the edge
Of her jaw,
The muscles set
her throbbing, open heart
1998, three men, all members of a white supremacist prison gang, murdered James Byrd, Jr., a 49-year-old Texas father of three, who had accepted an early-morning ride home from work with the three men. Because it's what white racists do, they attacked him, dragging him to his death behind their truck, then moseyed off to a barbecue. 1998, only 11 years ago, as the radical Christian Right gained its stranglehold on the Republican party, fought for religion in politics, anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti-everything "not them." They've perfected the attack ad, blaming the "other," hunting the scapegoat, preying on and harnessing the collective ugliness within us. And as they've discovered, there is more than enough to destroy this country without the need of a nuclear bomb. (and the country ignores….IT is not going away…IT grows on hate, and the agony is ascending once again, again, and again, flooding the land.)
Finally, on June 13, 2005, the US Senate formally apologized for its failure to previously enact a Federal anti-lynching law. All earlier attempts had been defeated by filibusters by powerful Southern senators. 2005, only 4 years ago (and the country sighs, it is over…Oh, how very wrong are we. Look anywhere; there IT is).
And once again the lynching comes
as mobs find courage in numbers.
Have Faith for Faith's sake,
preserve Tradition for Tradition's sake
Hate for Hate's sake
With God, Government, and Police on their side.
For as far back as we have evidence, humans have practiced human sacrifice: scapegoats, the pariah, the "other" to put upon them the blame and shame of the community, to be the sacrifice for the sins of all, originally to drive them out of the community and leave them to die—or ritually kill them in cleansing ceremonies. Human sacrifice for the rest of our sakes; human sacrifice to the gods. The one we know best is the dying/rising god, the god that promises immortality. The names may change but the promise of sin-free immortality remains the same: Osiris, Dionysus, Tammuz, Odin, Ishtar, Persephone, Baal—Jesus. Christians say Jesus is the last; THEY say Jesus took the sins of all so no one else would have to suffer; THEY say they follow him….and yet…and yet….and yet, THEY continue scape-goating—sacrificing others, projecting fears, hatred, anger, perverted thoughts onto entire populations.
What an excuse to commit genocide (Indians, Jews, Blacks, Muslims, Immigrants—take your pick).
What an excuse to kill ( so many to choose from).
What an excuse to be a vigilante (a buffet of life to slaughter).
What an excuse for murdering in the name of love.
The psychosis of humanity made manifest, running amuck, ranting, wrecking, reeking havoc, assaulting, lynching, Effacing to avoid facing themselves.
Playing God, they slaughter.
The herd hunts again,
Rulers of Deceit:
The Rogue and the Righteous
—The McPalins of the World—
Forging the grandiose
in rancid lies
Sludge in the drains—the slime—
Lining the social plumbing,
Lurking in the twisted shadows
Out of sight
Out of mind.
Left too long to rot and mold
In the grime
Bubbles in repression,
Churns sour in our souls,
Flings out its tentacles for the light of day
Births hate from guilt,
Pain from shame,
Displaced blame gobbles the refusal to atone
No matter how hard we try to scrub the claims of conscience away,
Our cyanide rage,
Our Gangrenous hate.
Crawling on the unmasked:
Beasts craving to be fed Again
(With God on their side)
Abel Meeropol for the lyrics Strange Fruit
The Southern Poverty Law Center:
Morris Dees, Joseph J. Levin, Jr., and Julian Bond,
Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, all those who've been hurt & still will,
All who've fought and still continue to
Charging Shame to:
All that aid & abet fear of those who are different
All that feed off hate
All that incite violence against those who disagree
All that are complicitous, consciously or not